SMMCOCFDN and Last Mile Broadband of Maryland – Broadband Initiative

Southern Maryland Minority Chamber of Commerce Foundation
and
Last Mile Broadband of Maryland LLC
Broadband demand surveys and high-level broadband network designs

The Southern Maryland Minority Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc., in partnership with Last Mile Broadband of Maryland LLC, was awarded a Rural Maryland Council grant, to conduct broadband demand surveys and high-level broadband network designs in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties.  The funding provided is certainly not enough to conduct the surveys and high-level network engineering to fully cover all areas of the Counties.

We are enlisting the help of stakeholders in each County to identify 2-4 unserved or underserved areas in each County that would be viable candidates for our broadband demand survey and high-level network engineering efforts.

The criteria for selection would include:

  • Presently have limited or no access to broadband services
  • Ability to access to the Maryland Broadband Cooperative fiber backbone
  • Areas that fit the USDA Rural Broadband Loan Program funding criteria
    • A city, town, or incorporated area that has a population of less than 20,000 inhabitants
    • At least 15 percent of the households do not have access to Broadband Service
    • Priority is given to areas where the greatest proportion of households that have no incumbent service provider or do not have access at the level of service specified in the program’s definition of broadband service, as published in the Federal Register; which is presently 10 Megabits down and 1 Megabit up.
    • No part of the area can have three or more incumbent service providers
    • No part of the area can have previously received USDA Telecommunications funding
  • Access to public and private towers, water towers and/or other tall infrastructures to support wireless broadband networks
  • Ease of access to public and private right-of-ways; poles, ducts and conduits; commercial and residential buildings; and to city/town, county, and/or state assets

Our intent is to use the results of the surveys and engineering efforts to identify a town, city, area and/or development that would serve as a pilot project; in our efforts to bring affordable broadband services to rural communities.  The survey and engineering results would also serve as the catalyst for applying for the 2018 USDA broadband funding cycles.

We are also looking for opportunities that would lend itself to completing a Fiber-To-The-Premise (FTTP) project.  Ideal opportunities would include a new residential or mixed-use development, an industrial park or small town or city.

We intend to begin the surveys in February 2018 and enlist your assistance in identifying areas in the Southern Maryland counties of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s that can not only benefit from the providing of affordable broadband services; but also fit the criteria that will assist us with obtaining the public and/or private funding required to make bringing broadband services to rural communities a reality.

The surveys will also be used to help quantify the demand for potential public funding and private investments.  We plan seek out individual investors and/or companies who are interested in investing in our efforts of bring affordable and quality-oriented broadband services to rural and underserved communities throughout Southern Maryland.  The confirmation of the demand would also give us an opportunity to investigate the use of a public-private partnership option; working collaboratively with a locality towards a mutual goal of bringing broadband access to the town, city and/or County.

Your attendance is welcomed at our Broadband Demand Survey Kick-off Meeting on February 6th at the CSM Center in Hughesville, 4:00pm – 6:00pm.  Please RSVP at info@smmcocfdn.org by February 1, 2018.